Athletes walk down the centre of the recreation centre auditorium during the closing ceremonies of the BC 55+ Games Saturday afternoon. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)

55+ BC Games deemed overwhelming success

Event wrapped in Greater Vernon/Armstrong/Spallumcheen on weekend

On his first full day off in quite some time Sunday, Wee Yee watched the NFL, went grocery shopping and got a haircut. He also wants to get in some golf before the season ends.

He hasn’t had much time to do any of those things over the past week, month or year, serving as president of what turned out to be a highly successful 55+ BC Games, which wrapped up in Greater Vernon/Armstrong/Spallumcheen Saturday.

“We were very pleased with everything,” said Yee, a former executive on the boards of the Calgary Stampede and Funtastic Sports Society.

“The biggest thing was the feedback from the participants. They were all very cooperative and were saying things like ‘these were the best Games ever.’ They all had fun.”

Close to 3,600 participants took part in 28 sporting events at facilities throughout the North Okanagan. They were also treated to opening and closing ceremonies, a Thursday afternoon Taste of the Okanagan social on 30th Avenue in Vernon, featuring local vendors, and a Friday night dance.

Yee said among the participants having a blast were the bocce players at the newly created courts in Polson Park. The courts will remain in the park, part of the legacy left behind from the Games.

Also benefitting from the Games were the likes of table tennis (new, top-of-the-line table, $4,000, to the Halina Table Tennis Group), new 3D targets for the Armstrong Fish and Game Club, which hosted the archery competition, and the Vernon AAA Track and Field Club, which will receive more than $10,000 worth of equipment.

“One of the goals from the outset was helping out organizations,” said Yee.

Speaking of helping out, the Games had a lot of help from North Okanagan residents. More than 1,200 people signed up to volunteer for the Games, with a volunteers appreciation night being held at the Vernon Rec Centre Saturday.

“They were in a great, festive mood,” said Yee. “Everybody enjoyed themselves. We couldn’t have done this without the volunteers.”

Estimates of anywhere between $3 and $7 million, as an economic spin-off for the region from the Games, were bandied about before the competition. Yee expects the final numbers to be known when a board meeting is held Oct. 10, and a final report is to be submitted to the BC Games.

Yee also gave praise to his Games’ organizing committee.

“I’ve been involved with professional and volunteer groups, and this group is right there near the top,” he said. “Everybody was amicable and respected one another. It was a high-performance team.”

The first BC Seniors Games were held in Vernon 30 years in 1988. The 2018 Games will be held in Cranbrook/Kimberley before returning to the Okanagan in Kelowna in 2019.

 

Wee Yee, president of the BC 55+ Games, hands the flag over to Jaret Thompson of Kimberly and Sandy Ze-Znick of Cranbrook, co-presidents of the Kimberly Cranbrook 2018 55+ Games, at the closing ceremonies Saturday afternoon at the recreation centre. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)